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MORE WARNINGS THE GOVERNMENT IS UNPREPARED FOR DISASTER SEASON

December 07, 2020

MORE WARNINGS THE GOVERNMENT IS UNPREPARED FOR DISASTER SEASON

A new report supported by Australia's largest general insurer, Insurance Australia Group (IAG), has shown the Morrison Government is not prepared for the coming disaster season.

Australia is seeing the “strongest signs in ten years” the country is facing a stalled La Niña event, leading to a high likelihood of cyclones and floods over the summer, according to the Geneva Association’s Flood Risk Management in Australia, which was developed in partnership with Insurance Australia Group (IAG) and released today.

Ten years ago, similar La Niña conditions led to widespread floods in Queensland and Victoria, costing $14.1 billion and killing 35 people in flood-related incidents.

The new report singles out areas in western Sydney as “the most significant and unmitigated community flood exposure in the country”, with potentially 134,000 people exposed to flood risks this natural disaster season.

Today’s report makes it clear that failure to invest in mitigation will cost governments in the long run, with only 10 per cent of necessary resilience funding actually spent.

This report comes after previously warnings to the Government that Australia is facing a higher than average chance of natural disasters this summer, including from:

  • the Bureau of Meteorology’s Cyclone Outlook, which warned northern Australia is facing earlier and more intense cyclones than normal this year,
  • the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, which warned of grassfires in New South Wales and Western Australia this bushfire season, and
  • Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston, who warned “our nation is no better placed to withstand the impacts of extreme weather than we were last year”.

Despite these warnings, the Morrison Government is again failing to prepare for what’s coming, just like it failed to prepare for last year’s bushfires.

The Government announced a $4 billion Emergency Response Fund (ERF) for disaster recovery and mitigation in last year’s Budget, but 18 months on, not a single cent has been spent.

The longer this Government delays in investing in natural disaster mitigation, the more lives are put at risk and the higher the cost of repairs.

We saw the consequences when Scott Morrison ignored bushfire warnings last year. He must ignore disaster warnings again.

Note: The Flood Risk Management in Australia report can be viewed at: www.genevaassociation.org/research-topics/climate-change-and-emerging-environmental-topics/flood-risk-management-australia

 

MONDAY 7 DECEMBER 2020

A FAIR GO FOR AUSTRALIA